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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 11, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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surge in south carolina. >> we don't have time for it, but i completely agree with what you said. i think ron paul has seized on to the truth which that the financial system is screwed up, people know it and he's the only guy talking about it. i hope if nothing else he forces everybody else to talk about it. that will do it for us. "hardball" is up right now. the romney roll out. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. finally back in washington after all that's with a and excitement in new hampshire. leading off tonight, fear or envy on the campaign trail.a an in new hampshire. leading off tonight, fear or envy on the campaign trail. mitt romney has already begun his general election campaign. we heard it last night and then again today. romney is clear. if you're concerned about economic thefairness in this condition, you're just one of
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the society's losers. president obama made a very different speech today, championing the middle class and therefore the battle lines are being drawn and it's only january. we have a local year of this ahead of us. the president made unexpected allies, the other gop candidates. if you closed your ice, youeyes swear all the recent talk came from democrat, but it's republicans like gingrich and perry trying to take mitt down. are they doing president obama's work for him or are they just giving romney a chance on get his act together and try to respond to the charges? but before romney makes his acceptance speech in tampa, he'll have to get past south carolina which has in the past been a killing field of opponents. his opponents now know if he's not stopped there, it's probably over for him. and their strategy is clear. attack him as a job killer. and hope the south will be more hostile to romney than iowa or new hampshire was. don't forget, never forget what w did to john mccain down there 12 years ago. and michelle obama pushes back
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against a new book is he shez tries to portray her as an angry black woman. finally tonight, let me finish where is it what's going for the romneys is that really good for america? we start with the politics of envy. chris is in the city of rome as we used to call it and john harwood is with us here with the "new york times." a somewhat superior newspaper historically speaking. romney got to give the big speech this prime time. i think he gave a speech more appropriate to a convention. which is probably an arrogant thing to do. but his focus was clearly on president obama, not the guys he beat yesterday. let's watch. >> president obama want it is to fundamentally transform america. we want to restore america to the founding principles that made this country great.
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he wants to turn america into a european sometime social welfare state. we want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity. this president takes his inspiration from the capitals of europe. we look to the cities and towns across america for our inspiration. >> chris, john and i can see it, his sons were lined up there like one of the motown groups from the '60s. four of them all lined up, doing everything but clapping and showing rhythm. >> the four tops. >> exactly right. let me ask you about that speech. this politics of envy, trying to throw the did thats backward on any charge that there's unfairness in our tax system, that our economic structure is such that it's very easy to become rich and very hard to survive in the middle class. and saying anybody who talks like that is some sort of tron
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ski ite or something. >> and you heard on msnbc last night john sununu push back. he's a romney surrogate. pushed back essentially saying if you believed -- if you believed in the idea of government intervention at all, this anti-american. so a lot of hot rhetoric. chris, i think you're 100% right, that speech was 95% i'm going to be the nominee, here's what we're talking about in the general election. but 5% of it was still mitt romney having to go to south carolina trying to convince people through rhetoric that he and they are not that far apart in how they view the world. he still has to get over that south carolina hump. remember, he came in fourth in 2008 in south carolina and he spent lots of time and money there. it is definitely the most conservative he'll face. and if he loses south carolina, i still think he winds up as the
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nominee, but it's a bumpier road. >> the president said his focus -- the president was on the middle class. let's listen to the president to what he said in his speech at the white house about the american economy. this is president obama. by the way, you can tell is this an attack against anyone. let's listen to who he's really talking about. >> i don't want america to be a nation that's preliminarily known for financial speculation and racking up debt buying stuff from other nations. i want us to be known for make and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud word, made in america. >> john harwood, you know about economics and politics both. both the president and rick perry of all people and certainly newt gingrich all making the same charge. there's too many people in this country making money off money. in fact the president and others said we wish we had more kids coming out of the best colleges in engineering rather than wapts to go go into equity.
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wa our best minds are going into manipulating money. interesting to see the president and critics of romney all making the same charge. it's not a class argument, it's about economic future. >> it divides not only the general election, but the republican primary. remember the republican party has more working class voters than it has in the past. and you have lot of the people who were tea party identifiers, conservative christians who don't make a lot of money. john mccain beat barack obama among white voters earning under $50,000. a lot of working class vote out there. and those people a resent some of the wall street excesses just like democrats. >> chris, tgleaming romney famiy which rolled out like this is when what it's going to look like. look how well we've done. if you want to be like the romneys, vote for the romneys. and maybe that's just brilliant roll out as i called it in our cold open. but it's a roll out. if you like the -- look at this.
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this is the future. we've all got it made. >> chris, i would say part of all politics, president obama tapped in to this, too, part of all politics is making people's vote aspirational. this is what we want out of our country. the other part of it, and i think you've tapped on something -- >> but they already have it. >> i agree. >> romneys already have it. >> that's potentially the problem for mitt romney. but i'll tell you why i don't think it works. there is clearly a string of economic populism that exists in will both parties. but in the republican party, mike huckabee tapped into that. he was that populist messenger. who is that mess will enger now is it i'll tell you who it's not. newt gingrich is not a populist. rick santorum, maybe. the best natural populist in the field is a guy from texas named rick perry who is at 1% in polls and largely irrelevant. and that's the problem. not that mitt romney isn't
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vulnerable to an economic -- there's no messenger to deliver that argument in this field. >> if you you look at the history of the democratic party, it's historically been open to old money. the roosevelts, stevenson family. whereas the republican party has been middle class, much moray began self made, nixon, people that made a few bucks but aren't rich, right? and got it their own way. >> exactly. but we've got an economy right now where there are more people with talent and high education who have the ability to make a lot of money. and the question is that enough, how much more broadly do we need to share opportunity. i talked to david axelrod about this, and he said mitt romney's idea of a mayor to being accuracy city is one where if you're born with the advantages, you keep them and you're not born with them, you don't get them. so there is a sense in the general election but in the
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primary. the national review tweeted careful mitt, don't suggest the only ones opposing you are the only ones envious of your suck he is says. >> obviously he wants him to stop what he's doing. like they want newt gingrich on stop. this morning matt lauer asked him if he was imflying anyone who questions the distribution of wealth and power was envious and jealous. let's watch what romney said. >> i think it's about envy, i think it's about class warfare. >> are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though? >> you know, i think it's fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. but the president has made this part of his campaign rally everywhere we go -- or he know, we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and wall street.
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it's a very envy oriented approach and i think it will fail. >> this, chris, and this gets in will to a breerd discussioader why romney needs to be scripted. he seemed surprised by matt lauer's question. he came out with an odd answer. we can talk about tax policy in quiet rooms. that just hit me as the strangest. let's not talk about what kind of a trax structure we have with the people. let's have it in the quiet rooms where the people don't hear it. that strikes me as elitist. >> you're exactly right. mitt romney is what a management consultant would create if you're creating a political candidate. he is someone who the more rules govern an exchange, a big debate, the better he is. the less rules that govern an exchange out on the stump, interviews with people like matt lauer, the more difficult it is because he just has trouble thinking on his feet and relating to your average person. now, that is something that the
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obama campaign is going to relentlessly hit on. mitt romney is out of touch. this is a guy who made millions by bankrupting companies. and newt gingrich and rick perry are really doing some of the obama campaign's work for help right now in south carolina. it doesn't mean the obama campaign wouldn't have found this line of attack anyway. but romney will have to in the near term figure out how he has better answers. because i guarantee you it's not going away in the general election. >> and chris, here's something that mitt romney is not talking about in quiet rooms, the counter argument to his complaint about billion nars and millionaires. all this stuff about european style socialism and i believe in america and that sort of thing. what democrats see there is a suggestion that this president is somehow less than fully american. and there is nothing that is more european style about president obama's position than bill clinton's, who also wanted
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to tax the rich, whos also wanted activist government. so there's a bit of a double standard when mitt romney says you can't talk about that inflammatory stuff about xwrooed a greed and envy, but you can talk about the fact that i believe in america and suggests your opponent may not. >> john, you start. it seems interesting, you say he's getting his ideas from europe, so he's a foreign errands socialist like newt gingrich says he has these tendencies to think like an anti-colonial. they almost deport him he have night they talk. and then you tie it in to the envy thing. so now you're making him some kind of communist guy who wants to take away the wealth of the upper middle class and give it to the poor people. that's what they're saying. >> i'm struck in recent years by the rhetorical inflation that republicans have practiced. they seem to think liberal isn't as powerful as it once was.
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that word has drained of meaning. so you get all the socialist stuff and then you flavor the socialism with the europe stuff. president obama is a liberal democrat who believes in slightly higher taxes than republicans do on some groups of people and slightly more government spending on education, scientific research and that sort of thing. it is not the difference between europe and american style state of nature. >> chris, can't we have an american discussion about the fairest tax system we can have without being somebody being called be on you out and called a foreigner? conditions you discuss tax policy? we passed under president wilson the income tax amendment to the constitution. that was ratified by the states in conventions across the country. that was a matter of public debate. now along comes this i would have to say elitist thinking from romney, we can't talk about taxes in the company of the little people because they'll get too envious. we better talk about wealth and taxation in the privacy of the
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club. i don't think he can handle will business sometimes. >> i think we can have that conversation, but i'll tell you what, and i mean a reasonable conversation about tax policy. there's potential for it in 2013. there's not potential for it between now and the election. it's january. you know, we're a long way from the november election. i think it gets back to sort of a fundamental disagreement or conversation that we're going to have in this country which is how much government do we want and when. >> i always latch on to the weird phrase like the quiet room. one of those you can't i go authori ignore. chris, john, thank you. what a long road trip this has been. coming up, romney still need to say get past south carolina. his rivals are attacking him as a job killer. newt and rick perry blasting
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away on this position that that man right there is taking away your job. we'll also get to the question of how well this fellow given his background will do well in the south among evangelical voters. ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] entune mobile technology. ♪ stronger! ♪ stand a little taller [ male announcer ] stay seamlessly connected to your smart phone. available on the reinvented 2012 camry. from toyota. ♪ c'mon, michael! get in the game! [ male announcer ] don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies? lost your appetite for romance? and your mood is on its way down. you might not just be getting older. you might have a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. millions of men, forty-five or older, may have low t.
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so talk to your doctor about low t. hey, michael! [ male announcer ] and step out of the shadows. hi! how are you? [ male announcer ] learn more at [ laughs ] hey! we've been talking about the potential fight between mitt romney and president obama in the general election. we have new poll newspapers. and we'll check the hardba"hard scoreboard. president obama leading romney by five. that's according to the new reuters ipos poll. but starting with florida, romney has a three point lead. look at north carolina. obama hopes to hang on there. he has the slightest of leads. but not bad. that's actually in the aboutppp. still slightly ahead in north carolina. we'll be right back.
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who is south carolina going to put forward? because iowa is a fine state, new hampshire is an interesting place. but the fact of the matter is, they whittle the field down. south carolina is who picks presidents. >> welcome back to "hardball." that's a great quote and that's the history mitt romney faces as he campaigns to win the state on january 21st. south carolina is known for its take no prisoners politics. and all the republican candidates have their sights set on romney down there. can a mormon win among evangelical vote erts? we'll see if it even comes up. and the say the hit hard by tough economic times. almost 10% unemployment down there, much worse than iowa or new hampshire. and will attacks on romney's tenure at bane capital come up once again? this poll taken last thursday,
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romney's lead 37%. santorum and gingrich in second and third. their combined total equals romney's 37%. a poll taken more recently giving romney a narrower lead down to 30%. so he's within striking distance. and so is santorum at 19%. again rick perry at 5% could jump into this race. we have a rick perry supporter and tea party caucus and mark halperin senior preliminary analyst. gentlemen, thank you. congressm congressman, your district, does that include charleston? >> no, sir, i have the northern tier of the state. p. >> what towns? >> rock hill would be the biggest. sumpter, than calancaster count. the north central tier of the state. >> and that's why you're coming
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from charleston. i should have remembered that. i don't want to get into relynn yus much, but let's try to be positive. does his protestantism make him more connecteded to the voters or are we past that? >> i'll be more direct because what you're asking is romney's more mannism an issue and it's absolutely not. i hear this a lot in washington, i hear it nationally. you very rarely hear that discussion in south carolina itself. and i use myself as an example. i'm the first roman catholic member of congress we think in the history of the state. we have a governor who was raised who is now a christian. but religion is not an issue in south carolina like folks who don't live here think that it is. >> mitt romney today addressed whether conservative evangelicals in south carolina would vote for him. let's listen to his answer. >> there are people who want to elect a commander in chief, they're not worried about electing a pastor in chief. i'm hopeful i'll get great
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support, but i know i have a lot of work to do. >> we don't know whether he'll have trouble winning over south carolina evangelicals. i guess the question comes back franklin graham by the way, son of billy graham oig, told the morning times it's going to be difficult for romney as a mormon with the evangelical community for most christians, mormonism is an issue and he has a hurdle that he'll have to jump over. he's pretty far right politically. suggesting that morgan mons are christians. so he's stirring up the pot, that's not a helpful quote if you're romney. >> and respectfully, he's not from south carolina. look back to 2008, mitt romney got the endorsement of bob jones iii, a noted evangelical in our state. didn't help very much. i think he finished fourth or fifth. so again, i think religion is an
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issue for folks who aren't around here. we'll pick our candidate based on jobs preliminarily and conservative jobs after that. >> mark, is there any way of looking that the objectively whether religion will cut down there, whether we should even be talking about it? >> i think it's vsimilar to wha race was for president obama in some states. are there some who won't vote for romney's religion? i appreciate his optimism, but i expect there are some. i don't think there is a large enough numb people who won't vote for him based on his faith to keep him from winning. >> let's take a look at what could be the dominant issue down there, jobs. south carolina has been hit hard by the recession. in fact based on unemployment numbe numbers, it is. there are ads more traying mitt romney as a jobs killer.
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let's listen. >> mitt romney became ceo of bane capital the day the company was formed. his mission, to reap massive rewards for himself and his investors. >> they don't care who i am. >> romney took foreign seed money from what the continue america and began a pattern exploiting dozens of american businesses. >> i feel that is a man that destroyed us. >> wow. john, let me -- let me ask you, mark, about that ad. you see this older woman who looks in very bad shape blaming romney personally as the villain who cost her her life basically. is this going to cut down there? >> we don't know what happens if you put hundreds of thousands or millions behind that kind of message, whether that will have an impact. i think there's some people in the country who will look at this message which the democrats would run against mitt romney and it would impact them. again, i don't know that it would stop mitt romney from winning the primary. it might cost him some votes, but i don't think it will cut
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against him and nationally it will help him because there's been a closing of the ranks from republicans saying this is not a good message to have and even speaker gingrich seemed to step back and say this isn't a message we should be driving. >> well, read his latest iteration. he continues to go back and forth on that, mark. we have a new bulletin just recently from him. he doesn't like the headline in -- what was it called, the politico -- the drudge report, one of them. let me ask you about your candidate, rick perry. he's getting pretty tough on the method by which romney got wealthy. >> he is. and i agree with mark, i don't think it's the winning argument in south carolina. i think governor perry got a little side tracked yesterday. we discussed it with the campaign today and we think it's misdirected. people are more interested in how they're going to go back to work and i think that's why rick perry does have a really good chance in south carolina.
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i did understand -- i do understand that the last i had read the politico article was gingrich was walking that back. i think mark is right, it's not the direction that anybody wants to at that time campaig take th campaign. >> they're taking issue with the question whether they crossed the line or not. they're saying it wasn't spoken by gingrich, it was spoken by the drudge report. anyway, do you think mitt romney in his private sector world was focussed on job creation? was that the focus of his career, creating jobs? >> no, i think his purpose was creating wealth. which is what a lot of folks to and most folks do when they try to go to work. job creation comes as a function of success. i think beating up on somebody for going through the downsizing of companies that are no longer competitive, no longer efficient, it's part of the ordinary process. you can look at our history, henry ford declared bankruptcy
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twice, walt disney went bankrupt. the creative druks that comes with capitalism is part of the thing that nobody like, but it is part of the system and i don't think it's the central behalf the campaign going forward for anybody. >> thanks for joining us. coming up, by attacking mitt romney's career at bane capital, are republican rivals actually doing president obama's work for him? i think so. they're making same charge he is. people who make money off money are not creating jobs. and up next, the "hardball" side show. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool
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♪ home was an airport lounge and an ipad ♪ ♪ made sure his credit score did not go bad ♪ ♪ with a free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ ♪ app that he had ♪ downloaded it in the himalayas ♪ ♪ while meditating like a true playa ♪ ♪ now when he's surfing down in chile'a ♪ ♪ he can see when his score is in danger ♪ ♪ if you're a mobile type on the go ♪ ♪ i suggest you take a tip from my bro ♪ ♪ and download the app that lets you know ♪ ♪ at free-credit-score-dot-com now let's go. ♪ vo: offer applies with enrollment in™. back to the side show. rupert murdoch has been mired in that scandal. and the allegations continue by
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the way. still murdoch took to twitter to offer his stops on what seems to be p stopping newt gingrich from gaining momentum. "can't blame newt g too much. he was carpet bombed with negatives by romney. brilliant visionary, but just too much baggage and ear rat tick. ." you've got too much baggage. finally to the big screen. meryl streep is once again wowing audiences. this time for her portrayal of margaret thatcher in the new film the iron lady. true to form, streep did her research and some of the information about the staunch conservative leader might surprise you. let's hear from the actor herself. >> there's always stuff to be learned especially many years out from an administration. but i was very surprised to learn that she didn't try dismantle the national health, she thought that that was a right to have the national health. that she was pro-choice.
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she would be drummed out of the american conservative party. there would be no question. >> wow. michele bachmann referenced the iron lady relentlessly during her presidential campaign and held her in high regard, but with the view streep just mentioned, bachmann might have been first in line to drum her out of the republican party today. up next, newt gingrich and rick perry trying to iftake dow mitt romney, but are they actually doing president obama's work for him? yes, they are. and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. th a broken string ♪ ♪ tell me what you really mean ♪ do you know what you want? ♪ while beating up on yesterday ♪ ♪ rolling on, moving on [ female announcer ] the space of a small suv. and more ways to connect to your world. ♪ do you know what you are? the all-new prius v from toyota.
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territory. and the nasdaq is up 8 points. one of the factors hanging over the market, fears about europe's debt crisis. today the euro hit a 16 month low against the dollar after comments from fitch. it urged the ecb to buy up euro zone debt to prevent a collapse of the currency. here in the u.s., the fed's so-called beige book survey showed the end of 2011 was a strong point for the economy. and most of the central bank's 12 district, consumers spent, and travel spending also rose. however the report also said that housing remained weak. and speaking of housing, home builder lanar said revenue was up 11% as home deliveries rose. shares of lennar were up 7% and that helped boost other housing stocks, as well. that's it from cnbc. thousand back it "hardballback "
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welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney is becoming under assault for his big business background, but its eye not liberals, it's newt gingrich and fellow republicans like rick perry. so why is the gop taking a page from the democratic playbook and could they be permanently damaging the most credible candidate they have to take on president obama? chris is a former republican congressman from indiana who runs the club for growth and andrew ross sorkin is the co-anchor of "squawk box" on cnbc and author of too big to fail. this phenomenon here, i wouldn't have expected it. i think it's a perfect storm. i think newt gingrich is an on that don that due nis. i think saw the documentary and he has money to pay for asd.
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he aboput it together and said here's the way to stop romney. what do you make of it? >> i think he is helping obama. i don't think it is an unexpected attack. i think it is an up expected source and i disagree with the substance of the attack greatly source and i disagree with the substance of the attack greatly. but in a weird way he may be helping romney. romney knew this was going to come. it gives him a practice round in south carolina where the establishings may be lower in the sense that if he can't rebut these in south carolina, in the general laeelection, he would probably have no chance. and obama gets to watch his response and he gets to hone his attack based on how romney responds to gingrich. so i don't think it's a surprise on any business person running for office. they'll all be accused of these things and romney gets to have a practice round. >> are there businesses out there that go out to chop shop companies founded by the person who founded the company, they
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chop them up like gordon gekko, pre-toend cut their costs so much, they end up destroying the company, but they make a killing? doesn't that go on or is that just a phantom notion, sn. >> there's bad behavior in every industry and every profession known to man. but over a long period of time, people engage in the free market system, people that embrace economic freedom can't succeed unless they create value. >> we have seen people in these ads as we've shown them tonight who have lost their livelihoods because of bane capital. what do you make of those presentations? >> there are probably very ugly incidents that bane capital was involved in. >> are they fair game for a political opponent to raise? >> everything is fair game. >> here is newt gingrich defending his attacks. >> there's a big difference between financial manipulation and capitalism.
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capitalism is when entrepreneurs go out and investors go out, they start something real, they grow something. and it has real impact. >> and you don't feel like that's a class warfare argument? >> no, i think that's -- >> some romney defenders are saying. >> first of all, okay, is he allowed to cite his record or not? if he's allowed to cite his record, is somebody else allowed to criticize his record or not? criticizing one businessman for one set of practices is not an assault on capitalism. >> i think this is a preview to the whole election and the general election. this will be an election about do we believe in -- which candidate is better at communicating their experiences in life to the voters. president obama believes in more and birg government. if romney is the nominee, he'll believe in economic freedom. >> this isn't about economic freedom. this is about the performance of bain capital. andrew, if you're reporting on this, is it that ready to figure out what the net effect of ba
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nichin capital was? >> covering this industry for the past decade or more, it is very difficult to actually ascertain whether it's destructive or constructive. having said that, governor romney has made job growth part of his platform. he says more jobs in the private sector that president obama has created in the public sector. as a result of trying to take credit for that, he then has to answer for all of the jobs that were lost. that becomes the issue. we had mitt romney on the show this morning and we talked about in issue. and the question becomes actually does he deserve credit for either of them. ultimately i give him credit for starting bain and being a good investor. but that's what he was. he was a good investor. did he create all these jobs? i'm not so sure. did he kill all these jobs some i'm not so sure either.
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>> here he is defending his attacks on romney by saying the republican nominee must be vetted before the obama campaign has answer cla a chance to take him on. >> i have middle class values and i find powerful rich people rigging games very distasteful. >> you think what you've done once the super pac is done, he's going to become less electable or viewed as less electable. >> >> i don't know, but the time to find out is right now. the last thing republicans ought to do is nominate somebody who has not been thoroughly vetted and then sit there watching obama and axelrod destroy them. >> he sounds like my dad who was a republican but was very upset during the ge price fixing scandal because he thought those guys were manipulating and abusing the capitalist freedom. newt gingrich makes a blue collar argument.
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we believe in free enterprise, we didn't like people who are basically bandits who use the system, they make a lot of money, but not create any wealth for the country. he knows what he's doing here politically. >> this is a political play. and you asked me is it fair game, and i suppose it is, but it's not fair in the sense that you conditions judge the free market system or one person's career in that free market system by a very small slice of it. you can't take a few people talking to him saying you like this guy or don't like this guy, did this deal work or not work, you have to look at the totality of their career. and i'm not here to defend bain, but it's looked at as a respected company that has grown value for their investors and they're people like teacher, firefighters pensions. some endowments. >> it seems that what romney did and newt is exploiting is romney made a calculated decision. don't run on his record as governor of massachusetts because there he was for health karks he was pro-choice, don't talk about his public sector career which is intended to help the general public which would be a launching argument.
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so he picked his private sector career which is not intended to help the general public and bragged i created jobs there. that's when i was really a public servant when i was out making money. >> and i think that's the hardest part to justify on either end. the question, theough to me, is this does this take the wind out of the sails of president obama later on, are we going to be talking about this issue if he's the presumptive nominee, are we talking about it in the fall or are we over the issue. and does this punch land now or will it land later. and oddly enough, despite the popular rhetoric around the issue, it doesn't feel like it's landing. i've seen the movie now. it pulls at your heart strings. but i don't know if it fundamentally lands with the american public and then again more importantly whether it can be exploited again come this fall. >> good question p. thank you, chris, andrew.
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up next, first lady michelle obama pushes back against a new book she says tries to portray her as an angry black woman. i don't know if that's a fair charge, but we'll listen to it. hardball coming back. this is an rc robotic claw. my high school science teacher made me what i am today. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education. that's thousands of kids learning to love science. ♪ isn't that cool? and that's pretty cool. ♪ just a second. just, just one second. ♪ what are you looking at? don't look up there. why are you looking up? ♪ get outta the car. get outta the car. ♪
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i guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and -- but that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day barack announced that i'm some angry black woman. i just try to be me. and my hope is that over time, people get to know me. and they get to judge me for me. >> we're back. that was of course first lady michelle obama responding to her portrayal as she heard it as combative and meddlesome in a new book about conflict inside the white house. the book's called "the obamas."
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written by a new york reporter. we'll try get her on. she was interviewed -- she said the author of 30 current and obama staffers, but white house has pushed back sayingoverdraman and that kanter didn't interview them for the book. ed rendell was governor of pennsylvania. he's now an msnbc analyst. i don't know how he got dragged into this. and jenna walsh, editor for i'm not going to knock it because i have another book out on kennedy i'd rather people read, but i just wonder if it's overwritten. is there something in there that justifies 200 or 300 pages of hashing over the relationship among the -- between the obam as and among the obamas and their staff people like valerie jarrett and the rest of them? >> look. you know, it's fascinating. it actually is. we care about these people.
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they are our leaders. so, you know, i think there's enough potentially there. the problem is i respect jo jodi kantor. one thing she does a little too often is put herself in the first lady's head. she does what a lot of reporters and writers do. she acts like she's sitting there and she's michelle obama when she hasn't talked to her. she's reconstructing it from other people's accounts. and i do think that's dangerous. i also want to say, i admire the first lady, and i have that in common with the rest of the country. she's one of the most admired women in america. so this notion that the right has -- she's right behind hillary clinton and oprah winfrey. this notion that people are not going to like her if they know her and that they can damage her is kind of ridiculous. we love her. and i just wish she wouldn't fight down. i wish she wouldn't dignify people by responding to some of the garbage thrown at her. >> she never said, nor did he,
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barack obama, as a candidate you get two for the price of one. there was never any presentation of the two of them as political partners, as hillary clinton certainly has been for all these decades with her husband, bill. they are political partners, both political players if you will. she's been somewhere between laura bush, a more recessive personality and someone a bit more modern if you will, but also not trying to run the west wing in any way as a co-president. i think she's trying to be very subtle about the role she's drawn for herself. >> i think that's true, chris. i think she's actually been the antithesis of the angry african-american woman or the angry first lady. as joan said, she's been portrayed and she is, a very happy, upbeat, optimistic person who americans love. her move it campaign is terrific. it's an inspiring. i've been with her at a couple of speeches she's made on it. she lifts the crowd. and people love her. so i think this is all inside
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baseball. it's not going to have the slightest effect on the campaign or the slightest effect on her image. her image is great. >> i just wish they'd give us more interviews with her. >> sure. >> i'd love to have her on this program for a half an hour, an hour. or go to a college campus and have her talk to the students. i think she'd be a wow. >> it would be. >> jodi kantor portrayed contentious relationships between the first lady and many white house staffers. "her strains with the advisers were part of a continuing debate over what sort of president mr. obama should be. with mrs. obama reinforcing his instincts for ambitious yet unpopular initiatives like the overhaul of health care and immigration laws, casting herself as a foil to aides more intent on retaining congressional seats and poll numbers. should obama be more aggressive, more historically transformational president or should he do what's nmore
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practical, protect his power and get done what he can. wouldn't they have these discussions? it seems to be the most normal thing in the world. >> it's the most normal thing in the world. and it's an important tension. i'm reading the book now. i haven't finished it. my feeling is i'm so glad she's there. she has his back. and honestly, i think she has our back. she really is representing the higher ideals and the transformational goals and the values that this president has that can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of politics. so there's nothing unseemly or untorrid about it. she's also a woman who had her own career who is now being kind of shuffled around and told to do this and that, stand there. that's got to be disconcerting. who would adjust to that. >> please sit here. madam first lady. we want you sitting here. we'll come to you. obviously. i think anybody who cares about the democrats success this november want her everywhere. governor rendell, thank you, sir. thank you joan walsh. when we finish, let's finish
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let me finish with this. there was something startling about romney's appearance last night. it was less a victory speech on a primary night. more a restoration. in presenting himself and his family, the former republican governor of massachusetts, seemed to be confronting the
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american people saying, take a good look at us. we're here to take the country back. what they are doing is fairly clear. they are offering the american people a comfortable picture. you want it all back, the economy of the 1990s, the profits, the new house, the high net worth, the new gadgets of the communications age, the broad outlook for your parent the security your parents felt? i'm here to show it to you to see how our well-off family is. see how attractive and successful we look. see the self-confidence and gleaming good light that shines forth from us? that's what i'm bringing back to america. that's what i am. the promise of the same good life for you and yours. pretty stunning, isn't it? it's all protected in this armor that says, don't be thinking that what's been good for us isn't going to be good for you down the road. don't vote for someone who says those wealthy republicans have built up their wealth by unfair tax policies. don't resent us because we're rich and well off and